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Volume 14, Issue 2
February 2016


Make your Yard a Haven for Early Nesting Birds
By Gaylen Beatty, Backyard Habitat Program Manager, Columbia Land Trust

Early nesters, like hawks, owls and hummingbirds, will start selecting their mates and constructing nests in just a few weeks! They will be followed shortly thereafter by songbirds like sparrows and juncos.

Bird feeding its baby in a nest
Photo credit: Jim Cruz

Here are a few simple steps to make your yard a safe place for nesting birds: 

  1. Develop a plan to limit your cat’s time outside. This is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for wildlife this nesting season. Try supervised time outside (let kitty out while you garden). At the very least, keep cats inside during morning and evening times when birds are most active.
  2. Avoid heavy pruning and brush removal during spring nesting. Timing is everything—perhaps that blackberry patch can act as nesting habitat for one more spring before replacing it with a native thicket or hedge next fall.
  3. Ease up on clean-up and allow several weeks of warmer temperatures before cutting back last year’s growth on your native plants. Hundreds of species of arthropods, like insects and arachnids, are overwintering in last year’s dead growth. By postponing clean-up, they can complete crucial parts of their life cycle and, in turn, attract and support baby birds.
  4. Stagger clean-up activities to maintain some areas of wildness at all times.


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Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2016